Holy cow! I need to water, now!
Symptom #1Thirst gradually started to become more and more prevalent when I started showing signs of Sjogren's Syndrome. I was watching Oprah one day and she had her trainer and chef, Bob Greene on and they were discussing being thirsty. Bob said, "If you are constantly thirsty, then you are dehydrated." I thought about that. "How could I be dehydrated? I am drinking so much water it's crazy." Thirst is also a classic symptom of diabetes. Now, at this time I was overweight, but my doctors had never raised the issue of diabetes.
Hey, no tears!
Symptom #2One day I watched a sad movie, and when I cried, there were no tears. That is weird. My eyes got all messed up. I had a mucus substance instead of tears and my nose didn't run either. What's going on? My eyes were scratchy, dry and red. Fortunately, I found artificial tears right away. Those gave me some relief.
How do I spell relief?
Symptom #3Indigestion. I'm not talking a little heartburn either. I not only carried a water bottle everywhere with me, but I carried a bottle of Mylanta, too. I remember being in my cubicle at work and having Mylanta on my desk. I was drinking a few bottles each week. If you have ever tasted Mylanta, you know it can be an acquired taste. I would chug Mylanta before, during and after my meals. I would take a swig or two in between meals if I had to.
Symptom #4Canker sores! Now those are attractive. I'm not talking the one little canker sore you get on your tongue. I'm talking sores on my mouth, tongue and down my throat. The pain was incredible.
How dry I am...
The last thing that happened to me was the skin on my face dried out and I developed a few hairline cracks in my skin. I used moisturizer everyday and it didn't make a bit of difference. All of these things didn't happen one at a time over a period of weeks or months. They all happened within days of each other. I wasn't freaking out, but I just didn't know what to think about what was happening to me. One or two of these symptoms by themselves wouldn't raise any alarm bells, but five? I knew something was really wrong and I felt like crap and I looked like crap.
I went to the Urgent Care. Fortunately, I met a wonderful doctor. I told him everything that had been happening and he listened. He really listened and he recognized it right away.
The doctor said, "I can tell by looking at your face that you are dry." "Your skin, and eyes are dry and the glands in your face are swollen." I think you need to get to a rheumatologist because I think you have Sjogren's Syndrome." "You are what we call, "a moisture seeker" and you need a specialist."
The doctor gave me the short version of what Sjogren's is, and I immediately felt relieved. I had an answer!
Question: If you have Sjogren's, how long did it take for you to realize something wasn't quite right, and to get a diagnosis?